Adventures In Running


Running For Two – A Mother’s Perspective

Written By: The Hornet - Nov• 20•12

Hi everyone!  My name is Michelle and I am the mother of two young girls and an avid athlete.  I participate in many events including 5k’s, marathons, triathlons and the occasionally dangerous mud runs. But those races pale in comparison to dodging flying sippy cups and hurdling the random toys that find the bottom of your foot at midnight when you are trying desperately to stay quiet so the baby doesn’t wake up.  Does that mean that when a woman gets that “positive” test result back, she immediately takes off the running shoes and props her feet up for 9 months?

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, most of my time was spent in the drive-through at McDonald’s   This did not bode well for my body, plaguing it with large amounts of weight gain, back pain, and those dreaded STRETCH MARKS.  After having her, I worked my butt off (literally) to get to that goal that most new moms strive for – pre-pregnancy weight.  It isn’t impossible to get rid of the baby weight, but it isn’t easy either.

Becoming pregnant with my second child, I was bound and determined to change the stigma of a pregnant woman’s fate.  I would not gain excessive weight.  I would lose the baby weight quickly.  This was my mantra.  I continued running, swimming, and cycling long into my third trimester.  My workouts were altered a bit, but I pushed on until I gave birth.

While I thought all of these were great ways to keep the pounds off, I met great opposition while exercising.  As I swam laps, jogged around the track, or even posted to Facebook about exercising, I was told “Be careful” and “ Shouldn’t you be stopping that now?”  I found myself defending my efforts to stay in shape more often than getting a pat on the back.  Why?  I wasn’t running a marathon 39 weeks pregnant like a woman in the Chicago Marathon last year, but what if I did?  What makes it wrong for a woman to stay active during her pregnancy?  Here are a few things I heard while I was pregnant:

  • Running is going to hurt your baby!  Not. True.  That kiddo is packed so tight in there; You won’t hurt your little one by running.  They aren’t going to get jostled loose.  I wore a support belt while running and jogged or walked when I felt even a little fatigued just to be more cautious.

  • You are depriving your baby of nutrients!  What’s funny is that many times I heard this from someone who was eating candy or something equally as unhealthy.  The baby gets what he or she needs from your body.  You are the one that suffers from lack of nutrients if you don’t take care of yourself, not the baby.  Just make sure to eat healthy and stay hydrated to keep up your supply of the good stuff.

  • That will put you into premature labor!  I assure you, it did not.  If something was said to take a few days off of my pregnancy, I tried it.  If you have a healthy, normal pregnancy, exercising will not cause harm and will actually help you in many ways.

  • You are eating for two!  I know a lot of women that took advantage of being pregnant by constantly shoveling junk food into their mouths (me included in my first pregnancy).  300 calories does NOT give you permission to eat a whole cheesecake every day for 9 months.  So when a pregnant woman eats healthy, why do so many people find it necessary to push them to this excessive behavior?

  • You can’t change your baby if you exercise or not.  This sounds weird, but I’ll explain.  I heard this from my doctor.  We spoke about my exercising and how I was trying to reduce the weight gain that I had acquired in my first pregnancy.  The doctor told me I was going to have a HUGE baby based on my first pregnancy and that I would need to have a c-section to get her out.  My OB/GYN made me feel like I was brainless for insisting that I was helping my child by exercising and eating better and gaining less weight.  “That doesn’t affect your baby.  Your baby is going to be larger no matter what you do.”  After half of my pregnancy of going back and forth with him on this, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy, and SMALLER than her sister, baby girl.  While doctors can be smart, I think he (and many others) has this wrong.  While I am not a medical professional, I think you can positively affect your baby while pregnant.  Staying active helped me tone my body for giving birth, but maybe it also helps keep unnecessary things out of my system and furthermore, my unborn child’s system.  If you can negatively affect your child with drugs or alcohol, why can’t you positively affect them with a good diet and exercise?

I think a lot of this goes back to people wanting an excuse to be lazy.  In reality, you always can make an excuse to not do something.  Pregnancy isn’t an excuse.  If you should exercise and eat healthy normally, why would that change when you are trying to bring another person into this world?  You should want what is best for you and your baby.  It’s not just about you anymore.

As long as you keep your doctor in the loop on your activity level and they approve, your positive activities during your pregnancy will bring positive results.  A healthier baby, a healthier mom, and a jump-start on that post-pregnancy bikini body.

You might even help that little one appreciate fitness as well.  Can you say future Olympian??


“Curses, Foiled Again!” – 7 Sneaky Ways To Give Yourself The Advantage In a Race

Written By: The Hornet - Nov• 14•12

Before the joy of the holiday season is upon us I would like to take this opportunity to talk about the sneakier side of racing.  People have criticized and even mocked me for some of my racing tactics.  But rest assured they are legal and will reap rewards in competition.  Some of these maneuvers have even been employed by Olympic athletes this year in London.  Remember, nothing else matters except who crosses the finish line first.  Let’s get started!

Shadowing – When attempting to pass another racer of similar speed, it can be to your advantage to run as closely as possible to this person.  From either side or behind will work.  The object is to distract him/her long enough to blow their concentration.  This can be very effective in short distance races such as 5 and 10K’s.  Take care that you do not run too close and cause a safety issue for yourself and anyone else in the vicinity.  This method was very useful this past weekend in my 10 mile trail run.  The recipient of my aggression was somewhat displeased, but I did win the battle.

Blocking - Intentional or not, it’s been done to all of us at some point in a race.  If you’ve been running steadily but find the need to reduce your pace temporarily to recover, it is advisable to take the opportunity when  passing someone slightly slower.  Briefly adopt their stride and run side by side until you are ready to resume your previous speed.  This will create a temporary “wall” for anyone behind you, causing them to have to run very wide and burn precious energy.  This trick comes with a risk.  If you hang around too long some of the more aggressive runners will shove you to the side as they push their way between the two of you.  The more patient runners will wait for a better opportunity to pass and your objective will have been met.  They have stayed in your rear view mirror until you have had a chance to catch your breath and leave them in the dust. The victim may get a brief break as well but the benefit is lessened since it was not at a time of their choosing.

Elbow/Shove –  Many times at the start of a race, while trying to grab a position, someone will pull up their elbows and aim them at your ribs. If you closely watched the men’s 10,000 meter event during the Olympics this year, there were some perfect examples of this tactic.  I have used it occasionally going into a turn or blasting my way through two people who later admitted they were blocking me.  Try not to take offense when this happens, it’s part of racing and it may be me doing it. :-)

Splash n’ Dash - This method is hit or miss literally.  What I like to do at a water station is to grab a cup of water, pour it over my head to cool off, crumble the cup and throw it down behind me but at the feet of the runner behind me.  This provides a very small distraction but it’s better than nothing.  You have the cup in your hand anyway, why not try to get a little more benefit from it?  I have witnessed others tossing the cup in the same manner as me but leaving a bit of water inside as to cause a splash when it hits the ground.

Stutter Step - If someone has really been giving you a hard time and you just can’t shake them from your six, you may want to resort to this malicious maneuver.  Try to get a SLIGHT lead on said annoyance going into a turn.  Once the runner falls in behind you, bring your stride down drastically for a split second and hope they don’t run into the back of you.  I have made the very few people I have used this on pretty mad but it blows their concentration and rhythm enough that they were no longer a factor in the race.  Be careful because this must be done perfectly or you will cause a crash, but when executed correctly it is very effective.  If you ask me, it’s their fault if they run into you.  What happens when someone stops short in traffic and gets rear ended?  The person driving the rear car gets the ticket for following to closely. Enough said.

Splashing - This is one of my favorites.  Rainy, snowy and all around sloppy days are required to pull this one off.  It’s simple, yet effective.  While running a race most people will choose to go around puddles and generally sloppy areas.  Check the conditions before the race and lace up one of your more unfavorite pair of running shoes.  If there are runners along side or behind you, aim right for that puddle and don’t pull back on your stride.  Depending on the depth, I have emerged on the other side with relatively dry shoes because when your foot hits the water or slush with force, there is a split second where the liquid is displaced and does not rush back in enough time to soak your feet.  Instead it does splash up the legs of your competitors. He he.

Gassing - Here’s a fun one that I have witnessed but never attempted and works for men and women alike.  If you are a woman, buy the cheapest, foul smelling “perfume” you can find and then proceed to apply it in excess.  Most runners are too polite to say anything prior to the start but they will surely understand your objective when the race starts and you are leaving a putrid wake vile enough to gag anyone who dares run behind you.  Most race courses are narrow enough that when the smell can’t be avoided, they will back off.  Now you just have to worry about who’s ahead of you.  Men, ours is a little harder to pull off.  Wear a shirt that you race in over and over without washing it.  By the time you hit four or five races and this sweat soaked shirt has been kicking around in your trunk, the smell will be bad enough to wave off even the strongest of runners.  Smell is the most powerful sense human beings have.  Why not use it to your advantage?

Run for fun and race to place everyone!